First, Know You: a conversation with Robin Lyons

“The height of a mountain is determined by its base.” Essential understanding from Coach Robin Lyons. #BeyondStrength @coach4kindness

Robin Lyons, 5x NCAA Track & Field All-American, Canadian record holder in the hammer throw, and Founder of MTN LAB Performance Coaching, has spent a long time working on her base, and “getting to know [her]self.” That patience has created a peak that, although she is still summiting, she can finally see.

She recognizes that to create something truly meaningful, you first have to know the creator.

That was not immediately clear to Lyons, who grew up in a small town in central Alberta, Canada. In the early days, she amassed recognition and established her identity as an athlete. She was a nationally ranked track and field athlete, and is now aware that sports allowed her to create her narrative for herself. As a young woman, struggling to find her identity, this narrative became central to who she was.

The hammer throw brought her accolades. One particularly impressive throw brought her a college scholarship. That fateful throw, a Canadian record at the youth championships, is the reason she ended up at the University of Wyoming, on scholarship. Her future college coach was in the audience that day and – for better or worse – changed the path of her athletic career.

More on that volatile coach and her college story can be found here: https://soundcloud.com/user-641070382/episode-61-robin-lyons-know-your-why

“Though her college experience was tumultuous, she learned from it.”

As a coach, she has cultivated the ability to reflect on the positive and negative circumstances her environment subjected her to, and adjust her own coaching accordingly. She does it well. Though she could have been jaded by her negative experience in Laramie, Wyoming, Coach Lyons put one foot in front of the other, and advanced. She grew from it. Today, she has the rare ability of existing at the cutting edge of strength and performance science, while create meaningful human-based experiences with her clients.

To do so, she first looks inward.

Mindfulness has become part of her daily routine. During her morning practice, she takes stock of how she’s feeling and consciously decides where her next steps will take her. When her mind is heading in a direction that she does not believe will be fruitful, she works to dismantle those thoughts and redirect.

She is intentional.

She slows down to see the bigger picture of her work, and makes thoughtful decisions. She is responsive, not reactive.

With a clear vision, a steady state, and sincere passion for her work, Lyons has created a sports performance mecca in the mountains of Driggs, Idaho.

Her clients range from local athletes looking to attack the hills and paths of her beautifully rugged hometown to competitive Nordic skiers, snowboarders, and elite triathletes. She is a true expert of mountain sport performance training.

Attaining expert status didn’t happen overnight. Robin worked hard to discover who she was, to make sense of her past, identify her strengths, her desires, and design her future – once those pieces were in place, MTN LAB came to life.

As we discuss during our recent conversation on the Good Athlete Podcast, on the road to wherever you’re going, you can’t get past yourself. Eventually you’ll have to figure that part out.

That part of the equation is often glossed over. In a world of constant progress, where our value is too often measured in ‘likes’ and other invented currencies, we forget that process always trumps product. One is continuing and can sustain you, the other is oftentimes a temporary signpost along the way. And the not-so-secret secret is that a healthy process often yields high quality products.

“why would you want to do it any other way?”

Why get to know yourself first? “So you can get the most out of who you are.” One’s process, after all, begins inside.

As an athlete, she received glory and accolades – those came from others. As a coach, fulfillment is the aim, which comes from within.

Know yourself. Then embark on the journey of doing the “maximum you can do while you’re here – why would you want to do it any other way?”